The holy martyr Andrew Stratelates was a military commander in the Roman army during the reign of the emperor Maximian (284-305). They loved him in the Roman army because of his bravery, invincibility, and sense of fairness. When a large Persian army invaded the Syrian territories, the governor entrusted St. Andrew with the command of the army, giving him the title of “Stratelates” (commander). His soldiers were pagans, and St. Andrew himself had still not accepted Baptism, but he believed in Jesus Christ. Before the conflict he persuaded the soldiers that the pagan gods were demons and could not help them in battle. He proclaimed to them Jesus Christ, omnipotent God of Heaven and earth, giving help to all who believe in Him. The soldiers went into battle, calling on the help of the Savior. The small detachment routed numerous hosts of Persians. St. Andrew returned from the campaign in glory, having gained a total victory. But jealous men denounced him to the governor, saying he was a Christian who had converted the soldiers under his command to his faith. Later they were slaughtered under Maximian in the narrows of the Taurus Mountains by the army of the governor Seleucus.
You forsook the glory of earthly prestige and inherited the kingdom of heaven. Drops of your blood gleam like rubies in the everlasting crowns which Christ gave you. You led a whole company of martyrs to Christ and found Him in the company of angelic hosts. There you join Him in the never-fading light, O Andrew, true leader and soldier. Along with all of your men, pray unceasingly for all of us.
Standing at prayer before the Lord like a star which heralds the sun, you see the treasure of the kingdom of heaven before you. Filled with joy which no one can describe, with the chorus of chanting angels, O Andrew, you sing a never-ending hymn to the Immortal King. Therefore, beg Christ to save our souls.
1 Corinthians 1: 26-31
Brothers and sisters, you are among those called. Consider your situation. Not many of you are wise, as men account wisdom; not many are influential; and surely not many are well-born. God chose those whom the world considers absurd to shame the wise; he singled out the weak of this world to shame the strong. He chose the world’s lowborn and despised, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who were something; so that mankind can do no boasting before God. God it is who has given you life in Christ Jesus. He has made him our wisdom and also our justice, our sanctification, and our redemption. This is just as you find it written, “Let him who would blast, boast in the Lord.”
Matthew 20: 29-34
At that time as Jesus and the disciples were leaving Jericho a large crowd followed them, and suddenly two blind men sitting by the roadside, who heard that Jesus was passing by, began to shout, “Lord, Son of David, have pity on us!” The crowd began to scold them in an effort to reduce them to silence, but they only shouted the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have pity on us!” Jesus then stopped and called out to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” they told him, “open our eyes!” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes, and immediately they could see; and they became his followers.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Friday, August 18 –